This has been a difficult week. I want to share some thoughts with you.
I know a man who is married to a Jewish woman and chose to convert. He told me that one of his associates asked him, why, given anti-Semitism, would he do that? He answered, “So if someone comes to my door looking for my wife and kids I should say, ‘take them; I’m not Jewish?’”
If your family includes Jews then anti-Semitism is about you too. The hostage situation in Texas raised fear in the Jewish community and others. I want us to remember that no Jew is alone. We are a very large family and we are concerned about each other. In our family are many non-Jews who love us and want us to be safe. I’ve been told by non-Jewish partners that the fear raised is new to them. They are surprised by how vulnerable they feel. I want to send a reassuring hug to all of you. Fear is natural in dangerous situations. But rallying together is also a natural and healthy response.
Today I read this message that Rabbi Chai Levy of Netivot Shalom in Berkeley sent to her congregation.
Since last Shabbat’s hostage event in Colleyville, TX, I have felt many emotions: fear, relief, anger, anxiety, determination, and love. I’m guessing that you, too, have been reflecting on this event and you too are concerned about antisemitism and might be feeling afraid. Deborah Lipstadt’s column expresses well what many of us are feeling. What are we to do with all of these feelings? Poet Amanda Gorman recently wrote that fear is not cowardice, but “a summons to fight for what we hold dear.” What do we hold dear? What are we summoned to fight for, in this post-Charlottesville / Pittsburgh / Poway / Monsey / Colleyville moment of rising antisemitism? To name a few: We will show up at shul on Shabbat – in courage, love, and support for each other. We will continue to be a welcoming community who cares for the stranger, even as we become more vigilant and trained in safety measures, like Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker. And we will continue to work toward interfaith allyship and strengthening relationships within and beyond our community, where together we create a world where all feel safe. Shabbat Shalom and I hope to see you, either in-person or online, on Shabbat.
We received a kind letter of support from our Jewish-Muslim Interfaith Dialogue partners, which you can read here.
If you are feeling anxious, angry or alone please reach out. Email me. Or get on one of the many online Shabbat services. BE WITH OTHERS, even if only online. Did you know that the human touch is healing to humans? Get a hug from someone.
Please remember that I am only one of the many people who care about you. Let these hard experiences make us stronger and more determined to be loving connectors in our human family.